Latest - Scams and Cons


Courier Fraud, Bogus Police and Bank Official Alert - What you need to know

Individuals have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be a police officer or banking official

The suspect will say either:

Occasionally the victim will be told to dial a non-emergency extension of ‘161’ to receive confirmation of the individual’s bogus identity, the bogus official will advise the victim to lie about the reason for the withdrawal or purchase if challenged by staff, as the staff member is involved in the fraud
A courier attends the victim’s home address to collect the goods the same day Often the victim is given a code word for the courier as a way of authentication.

What you need to do - Your Bank or Police will Never :-


Fake TalkTalk E-Mails

Action Fraud has received over 100 reports this week about fake emails purporting to be from TalkTalk. The emails state that the recipent's TalkTalk account is in credit and that they are owed a refund. The links in the emails lead to malicious websites.

Don't click on the links or attachments in any suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.


Telephone Fraud

Fraudsters can ‘spoof’ telephone numbers so that people receiving the call (on landline or mobile) think they are dealing with someone from the UK on a genuine number, when they are not. If you have a caller display on your landline and you see what looks like an incoming UK mobile or landline number, please don’t take it for granted that it actually is.

This can also happen with a call made to your mobile phone – for example it can show the name as ‘Bank’ if that is how you have it stored in your mobile, leading you to think it’s a genuine call from your bank, when it isn’t.

Note the Telephone Preference Service cannot protect you from these types of calls, as the service aims only to ensure genuine companies do not make contact if you have registered to opt out of receiving unsolicited calls.

How to keep safe from this type of fraud

1. Don’t assume the caller is actually phoning from the number you see.

2. Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for personal or financial information in case it is a scam.

3. If in doubt, check with the organisation directly by phone or email using contact details from your records – do not use contact details given by the fraudsters

4. Do not confirm anything to a ‘cold caller’ you don’t know and do not start any dialogue. Simply hang up.

5. Do not be rushed into action. Question and check before acting.

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam - what next?

6. Stop further payments – contact your bank or cancel your transactions directly. (Monitor your statements regularly for any unusual activity.)

7. Report this has happened - contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at


£7 Million Lost to Holiday Fraud

Fraudsters stole more than £7 million from unsuspecting holidaymakers and other travellers in 2018, a new report reveals today.

ABTA – The Travel Association, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online are joining forces to warn the public about the dangers posed by holiday fraud and give advice on how to spot and avoid travel related fraud. The report, compiled by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, details the most commonly targeted areas of travel and the methods used by unscrupulous criminals to defraud the travelling public.

Over 5,000 people reported to Action Fraud that they had lost a total of just over £7 million to holiday and travel related fraud, an increase on last year, when 4,382 victims reported losing £6.7 million. The average amount lost was £1,380 per person but, as in previous years, in addition to the financial cost, victims have also reported the significant emotional impact caused by this crime. The three campaign partners also believe that the actual total figures relating to travel fraud may be even higher, with many victims feeling too embarrassed to report.

Over half, 53%, of the crimes reported were related to the sale of airline tickets. These reports were made consistently throughout the year, however the largest individual loss, of over £425,000, was made in August 2018.

The next most common fraud at 25%, related to the sale of accommodation, with a peak in reported losses in October. This indicates that many victims report their loss after the end of the summer holidays the busiest time of the year for travel and a popular target for fraudsters.

Link to more information on how to avoid becoming a travel fraud victim.


42% of used hard drives sold on eBay still contain sensitive data.

42% of used hard drives sold through eBay still contain sensitive data according to new research from a leading international data security company. Of these, 15% were found to contain personally identifiable information (PII) even where sellers stated they had used proper data sanitation methods prior to the sale.

The study, carried out by Blancco Technology Group in conjunction with partner, Ontrack, analysed 159 drives purchased in the US, UK, Germany and Finland. The findings highlight a major concern that whilst sellers recognise the importance of removing data, they are using methods which are inadequate.

“Selling old hardware via an online marketplace might feel like a good option, but in reality, it creates a serious risk of exposing dangerous levels of personal data," said Fredrik Forslund, VP, cloud and data erasure, Blancco. 

"By putting this equipment into the wrong hands, irreversible damage will be caused – not just to the seller, but their employer, friends and family members. It is also clear that there is confusion around the right methods of data erasure, as each seller was under the impression that data had been permanently removed. It's critical to securely erase any data on drives before passing them onto another party, using the appropriate methods to confirm that it's well and truly gone.


Springtime tax scams target young and vulnerable, warns HMRC

Young adults who may have less experience of the tax system should be especially vigilant against springtime refund scams, warns HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Scammers are increasingly targeting vulnerable or elderly people and those with less familiarity with the tax system, such as young adults.

During April and May, fraudsters regularly blitz taxpayers with refund scams by email or text pretending to be HMRC. Criminals do this to coincide with legitimate rebates being processed by HMRC.  They will encourage people to provide bank details, in exchange for a payment worth hundreds of pounds, on a fake government website to harvest private information and steal money. HMRC will never ask someone to provide bank details by text or email.

Last Spring alone, HMRC received around 250,000 reports of tax scams — which is nearly 2,500 a day — and requested that over 6,000 phishing websites be deactivated.

Useful statistics about Spring scams warning

The tax authority is urging anyone who knows someone that could be vulnerable to scams to be warned and prepared. HMRC’s top tips:

Recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.

HMRC will never advise you of a refund in an e-mail or SMS message.

HMRC’s action against scams


TV Licence, Billing, Renewal or Refund Fraud

Since September 2018 there have been large numbers of reports of fake emails purporting to be from TV Licensing. Scams involve emails claiming that either a refund is due or there is a problem with billing or with the account. The links in the emails lead to phishing websites designed to steal personal and financial information.

They will use headlines such as ‘correct your licensing information’, ‘billing information updates’ and ‘renew now’ to trick people into clicking on the link within the email.

These emails are sophisticated and convincing. They can catch out anyone - even the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk admitted to being out caught by this scam earlier this year.

How to keep safe from this type of fraud

1. Always be suspicious of unsolicited requests for personal or financial information in case it is a scam.

2. Never automatically click on links in an unexpected email or text.

3. If in doubt, check with the organisation by phone or email using contact details from your records – do not use contact details given by the fraudsters

4. Do not be rushed into action. If in doubt, delete the email. A genuine organisation will always find a different way to contact you.


If you’ve fallen victim - what next?

5. Stop further payments – contact your bank or cancel your credit card. (Monitor your statements regularly for any unusual activity.)

6. Report this has happened - contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at



For more advice on signs to look for and how to avoid being a victim of this type of fraud go to the Action Fraud website:


Friends against Scams - Online Learning

Click on picture above to learn more here


Advice given following Bank Scam in New Forest

We are asking people to be aware of a telephone scam in which victims are persuaded to disclose their PIN numbers and hand over their banks cards.

On Tuesday 12 March, we received reports of two incidents in the New Forest, in which the victims were called by someone claiming to be from their bank.

In the first incident, a 90-year-old man from New Milton was called by someone who claimed to be from his bank.  The caller said the man was due to receive a new bank card, and asked if he would like to continue using the PIN code from his current card.  During the course of the conversation, the victim disclosed his PIN number. A man then came to the man’s address and collected the current card, and gave the victim two gift cards. A total of £500 was then withdrawn from the victim’s account.

A similar method was used in the second incident. A total of £1,190 was taken from the victim, an 85-year-old woman from Ringwood. The man who collected her bank card was described as black, 5ft 11ins tall, of medium build, curly/wavy hair and was wearing a hi-vis jacket.

Both incidents are being treated as linked. We would like to take this opportunity to remind people that banks will never ask to disclose your PIN number in this way. They will not send a courier to collect your old bank card either.

If you get a call like this, please hang up and use a different line to report the incident via 101, or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. We are asking people to pass on this advice to friends and family and anyone you know who you think may be vulnerable to this type of scam. If you have any information, please contact us on 101, quoting reference number 44190087005/44190086974. In an emergency, call 999.


Paws for thought - fake pet adverts

Between March 2012 and April 2018, 5066 reports of this fraud were made to Action Fraud.

Victims reported losing £3,129,273 during this time – an average of £40,640 per month.

How is this happening?

Fraudsters are advertising pets and pet accessories on online marketplaces at a lower than expected price in an attempt to attract victims. The fraudsters are then demanding full payment or a deposit for the animal via bank transfer or electronic wire.

To prevent requests to visit the animal, fraudsters will tell victims that it is located in a remote or faraway location, which stops them from travelling to see it.

In some cases, the fraudsters are telling victims that they need to pay further fees for animal travel insurance, documentation or special travel cages. Victims are promised that some or all of these extra fees will be refunded when they receive the animal, however once these funds have been transferred, the fraudster will stop all communication, leaving victims out of pocket and with no pet. A report from Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) shows that 61% of victims were female and 22% of victims were 20 – 29 years old. It also shows that 31% of people said falling victim to this type of fraud had a significant impact on their health and financial wellbeing.

The report suggests that fraudsters are targeting victims who wish to buy popular breeds. The highest number of reports related to pugs – 224 reports were made between January 2012 and May 2018, with victims losing £76,451. Fraudsters are also offering pet-related products for sale which don’t exist or are not as described. Equine accessories accounted for 92% of monetary losses. Between January 2012 and May 2018, 368 reports were made which concerned a horse box or trailer. The total reported loss was £1,145,369 with an average loss of £3,112 per victim.

Don’t get pugged off:

·         If you’re purchasing goods and services from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, or ask friends and family for advice before completing a purchase. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.

·   Avoid paying for good and services by bank transfer as that offers you little protection if you become a victim of fraud. Instead, use a credit card or payment services such as PayPal.

·   Ask for photographs or videos of the animal; a responsible seller will understand why the buyer wants photographs and more information before making a purchase.

·    Use the online marketplace’s ‘report’ function if you come across suspicious adverts or sellers.

·    Sellers offering to meet you ‘halfway’ seems generous but you should only buy the puppy directly from the place where he/she was born and raised.

·   When buying a puppy, you must insist on seeing the puppy interacting with its mother and littermates in the location where they were bred and reared - Make sure you visit the puppy more than once too.

·    If you think you have fallen victim to this type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.


Instasham - Fraudulent Investments being promoted on Social Media

How is this happening?

Between October 2018 and February 2019, 356 reports of this fraud were made to Action Fraud.

The total loss was a shocking £3,168,464 – an average of £8,900 per person.

Action Fraud has seen an increased number of investment schemes being advertised on Instagram over recent months, with young people aged between 20 and 30 the most likely to fall victim.

Fraudsters are advertising ‘get rich quick’ investment schemes on the app, which promise a high return within 24 hours. A £600 investment is initially requested which fraudsters claim will be multiplied within 24 hours. 

Victims are then making payments via bank transfer to the fraudster’s bank account. Fraudsters are then sending screenshots of thousands in profit crediting their accounts, which they claim can be released for a fee. Victims have requested to withdraw their funds while they’re still in profit, and at this stage the fraudsters are stopping contact with the victim and closing the Instagram account. 

Inspector Paul Carroll, of Action Fraud, said:

“Opportunistic fraudsters are taking advantage of unsuspecting victims who are going about their day-to-day lives on social media. 

“It’s vital that you follow the simple steps below to make sure you don’t fall victim to this fraud.

“If you think you have been a victim, contact Action Fraud.”

Stay safe when scrolling:

Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred into your account by someone you don’t know and trust. These types of requests should always raise a red flag. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it.

Don’t immediately agree to any offer that involves an advance payment or having to sign a contract on the spot. Always speak with a friend or family member first.

Always check the credentials of any financial company on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) website: – they should be on the register. Contact the preferred company directly and reject any offers made through unsolicited communications.

Every report maters – if you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.